Patient Access is extending its appointment booking feature to include community pharmacy services.
The website and app allows patients to book GP appointments online and, after a successful pilot with Day Lewis Pharmacy, will now include services such as flu vaccinations, stop smoking services and medicine use reviews.
Paid-for services, including hair loss consultations and travel vaccinations, will also be available to book.
The site and app, powered by EMIS, has more than seven million users.
It’s hoped that adding pharmacy appointments to the service will reduce pressure on over-burdened GP services.
Jason Keane, Patient Access chief executive, said: “A key part of the NHS Long Term Plan is focused on driving patients to community pharmacy for clinical services.
“Patient Access pharmacy bookings will support this by enabling patients to search, view and book a wide range of services in their local area. It’s an exciting move that will harness the power of community pharmacy in a new way.”
The pilot was successfully trialled in two London boroughs, with Patient Access now looking to roll it out nationally.
The Day Lewis pharmacy group is the first provider to be listed in the service, with over 60 branches now live within the app and another 220 branches to follow over the next two months.
To boost patient safety, pharmacists using the service are able to send an electronic consultation summary of any service they deliver back to the patient medical record, using ProScript Connect PMR software, where the GP can view it.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, clinical director of Patient Access, said: “As a practising GP for the last 29 years, I am all too aware of the pressures on general practice as well as the invaluable service that pharmacists perform. I am confident that that we can help reduce strain on GP services and increase patient satisfaction.”
EMIS Health clinical director Shanel Raichura added: “We expect that the forthcoming Community Pharmacy Contract will require pharmacists to focus their time and expertise on delivering clinical services, echoing the direction set out in the NHS long-term plan.
“This new appointment booking service launch is a step in the right direction to prepare pharmacy to be proactive in the delivery of these services.”